Crooks know you're anxiously awaiting your tax refund. That's why this filing season they're again impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents. The latest refund scam is an email or text about your tax refund or tax refund e-statement. In both cases, warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the messages are efforts to steal your identity and money. As in previous incarnations, these latest fake IRS messages encourage recipients to click a link, supposedly to "check on your tax refund e-statement," or "fill out a form to get your refund." The FTC provided the image below of one of these fake IRS... Read more →


The IRS is OK with celebrating the closing of a business deal on a corporate jet, but not so accepting when the aircraft is used for personal jaunts. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) If Elon Musk and Taylor Swift were unhappy with the attention their jet flights were getting from a private citizen, a federal agency's plans could cause them even more turbulence. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it is initiating dozens of audits on business aircraft that were used for personal travel. The audits will focus on aircraft usage by large corporations, large partnerships, and high-income... Read more →


Photo by Ozan Safak on Unsplash Higher income taxpayers tend to take the most advantage of tax breaks. That's no surprise. They can afford to hire tax professionals, who keep track of all the benefits they qualify for and claim them on the well-to-do taxpayers' returns. But there are some valuable tax breaks for the rest of us who are far from wealthy. And while higher-income households do enjoy greater per dollar benefits tax benefits, the breaks available to us tax plebeian are more beneficial when they are measured as a share of our income. Tax credits provide the most... Read more →


Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash Last August, parts of Michigan were struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding, prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to issue this month a major disaster declaration for nine counties. The Internal Revenue Service subsequently announced tax relief for those individual residents and business owners. One of the tax considerations is a new June 17 filing and payment deadline for the affected Michigan taxpayers. The Great Lakes State is the sixth to be granted the new mid-June Tax Day due to disasters. Some Michigan residents join those who were ill-treated by Mother Nature... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell Not only was last Sunday's Super Bowl LVIII the most watched National Football League championship game ever, it set a betting record. In case you were one of the apparently very few who missed it, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. The comeback was similar to the less dramatic result back in 2020, when the two teams faced off in Super Bowl 54. That year, MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and not-yet-Taylor-Swift's boyfriend Travis Kelce raised their first Lombardi Trophy. The Nevada Gaming Control Board tallied $185.6 million in bets across 182... Read more →


Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Planet Volumes In July 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had charged 22 individuals in connection with an allegedly fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan scheme that sought to defraud the federal government of $11.1 million. On Thursday, Feb. 15, two Georgians who were charged three years ago were convicted for their roles in the scheme. A 42-year-old Decatur man was convicted by a federal jury of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, making false statements to a federally insured financial institution, and money laundering in connection with 14... Read more →


Other IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Saturday openings will be on March 16, April 13, and May 18. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash For the third consecutive year, the Internal Revenue Service is opening some of its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) on Saturdays. Face-to-face help at these IRS offices usually is available only on weekdays, and taxpayers must make appointments. But on Feb. 24, March 16, April 13, and May 18 certain TACs nationwide will be open. Even better, on those four Saturdays taxpayers won't need to call ahead. They can just walk into the TACs, which will be... Read more →


Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash Throughout life, we all encounter momentous firsts. First day of school. First time at a paying job. First time holding your child. First time you file a tax return. OK, that last one is probably not an event you celebrate, even if it produced a tax refund. In fact, if you remember filing your first Form 1040 it at all, it's probably because it was not a good experience. There's no way to replace that bad tax memory. But there are steps that first-time tax filers can take to make sure their initiation into the... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Meg Aghamyan First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes filing your taxes together in one package. 💘💕💗💕💘 Or not. OK, I pushed it trying to rhyme marriage and package. Now it's clear why I stick to prose instead of poetry And that "or not" stanza is a bit counterintuitive on Valentine's Day, a time when we traditionally celebrate love and inseparability. But we are talking taxes on this heart day, so there's always an exception. Married filing options: It's true that most of the time, it's better to file one return jointly. Not only is... Read more →


Tax season 2024 is off to a slow start compared to filings at this time last year. At this early point in the tax season last year, the Internal Revenue Service had received nearly 19 million returns. But by the end of the first week of the 2024 filing season, just around 15.3 million returns had arrived at the IRS. That's a substantial 19.1 percent decrease from 2023's early filings. Still, some 2024 taxpayers are happy. They're recipients of the more than 2.6 million refunds that the IRS issued by Feb. 2. The dollar total of those early refunds was... Read more →


Muddy tracks photo by Sean Foster on Unsplash June 17 is becoming the new Tax Day for many taxpayers. Unfortunately for them, the two additional months are because they live in areas hit by major disasters. West Virginia taxpayers are the latest to join this unwelcome club. Other states where individual and business tax filers have a disaster-related June 17 deadline are Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. In West Virginia, the Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief for Mountain State taxpayers in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison, and Kanawha counties. Those five WV counties sustained damages from severe storms,... Read more →


Last week, I finally got all the documents I need to file my 2023 tax return. As an independent contractor, the bulk of my income tax statements were 1099-NEC forms. But some folks are getting 1099-Ks. And these tax statements still are causing confusion. Form 1099-K has become more common with the growth of the gig workforce, and the delivery of products and services through online apps and marketplaces, such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, eBay, Etsy, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Old form, new amounts: The forms are not new, but the amount of earnings that trigger their issuance has changed.... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has made it clear for years. It wants to know about your digital assets. Ignore the crypto question, now at the top of more tax forms, at your own tax peril. And if you go further and don't report taxable digital transactions, the Department of Justice (DoJ) will get involved. That's the case for a Texas man, who this week was indicted on charges of filing false tax returns and structuring cash deposits to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements. Bitcoin was a component in both charges. Notably, the federal prosecution involving digital transactions is historic, at... Read more →


Allegiant Stadium will be filled with 49ers and Chiefs fans Sunday as they vie for the NFL championship in Super Bowl LVIII. (Photo: Allegiant Stadium) This Sunday, millions will watch the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face off in Las Vegas to determine the National Football League's championship. With the Sin City location, it's fitting that a record 67.8 million American adults are expected to bet on Super Bowl LVIII. That's a 35 percent increase from 2023, according to a new American Gaming Association (AGA) survey. The dollar amount also is up this year. Bettors plan to wager... Read more →


In February 2022, the Internal Revenue Service stopped issuing several automatic tax notices. The move was prompted in large part by the massive backlog of tax filings that piled up when the agency closed offices as a precaution early in the COVID-19 pandemic. That tax notice moratorium is ending. Automated collection notices will soon show up in the mailboxes of individuals with tax debts prior to tax year 2022. Businesses, tax exempt organizations, trusts, and estates with tax debts prior to 2023, with exceptions for those with existing debt in multiple years, also are on the notice resumption list. These... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Ave Calvar You checked out my post on who has to file a tax return (thank you!) and confirmed that you're one of the lucky few who doesn't have to file a Form 1040 this year. But maybe you should. Even if you aren't legally required there are some good reasons to send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return anyway. Here are eight such should-file situations. 1. You are due a refund. Most U.S. workers have income tax amounts taken from their paychecks. Other sources of income also sometimes take some tax amounts off the... Read more →


Maine taxpayers join those in Connecticut, Tennessee, and Rhode Island disaster areas for whom Tax Day now is a mid-summer event. Maine road washed away after last December's severe storms. (Photo courtesy Maine Governor's Office via Facebook) Much of California is overrun today by an atmospheric river unleashing heavy rain and wind. Judging from the images of the damages, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) likely will eventually declare the hardest hit areas as major disasters. The Internal Revenue Service then will follow, granting tax relief to those in the designated locales. But that's a bit down the flooded California... Read more →